Frequently Asked Questions:

The Panoramic Feedback System


360-Degree Feedback Illustration




A. Managing the 360-degree feedback process

  1. How readily can individuals access the questionnaire?
  2. We have our own questions that tie in with our company's vision. Can we use those?
  3. Can I develop different questionnaires, for different departments or levels, to my own specifications?
  4. What if some of our people don't have Internet access?
  5. How long must I wait for Reports?
  6. What questionnaires are provided by the Panoramic Feedback library?
  7. Are the questionnaires provided by the Panoramic Feedback library reliable and validated?
  8. How does Panoramic Feedback speed the selection of responders?
  9. What are the size limits on the projects I develop?
  10. What can I expect from the Report?
  11. Exactly what can I customize?
    • Automatic email notification to responders
    • Headings and Behavior Descriptions
    • Categories to which responders are assigned
    • Scale and Anchors
    • Introductory and explanatory text for both Questionnaire and Report
    • Languages
    • Narrative Comments
    • Range of Responses (Hi-Lo) Display
    • Print Page Numbers in Report
    • Change Language of Default Text in Report
    • Export Statistical Data
  12. What happens to my data?
  13. Do I have to have technical knowledge to administer the program?
  14. Can Panoramic Feedback generate compiled Reports sorted by various departments or divisions so that we can see patterns across the company?
  15. How can we use the data that we gather? How are other organizations using it?
  16. Once the Reports are handed to recipients, what support is available for them?

B. Building support in the organization

  1. What can we do up front to help skeptical leaders buy into 360-degree feedback?
  2. As we roll out the 360 project, where should we start? Should we take a top-down approach and get the leadership to do this first, or does it matter?
  3. What do responders have to say about the experience of providing feedback?
  4. How much communication is required within the organization when we start to roll out the 360-degree process?
  5. How do we support subjects as they receive their Report?

C. No hidden costs

  1. Is the ability to customize my questionnaire built into the price or is there an additional cost?
  2. Do we have to pay for technical support?
  3. Do we have to pay for upgrades?
  4. Do we have to pay per-responder?

D. Guarantee

  1. Does Panoramic Feedback offer a guarantee?

E. Shopping around

  1. What questions should I be asking potential suppliers?
    • Is the ability to customize built into the price or is there an additional cost?
    • How readily can individuals access the questionnaire?
    • How long do I have to wait for Reports?
    • What level of security is in place?
    • Is there a guarantee?
    • Do I have to pay for technical support?
    • Do I have to pay for upgrades?
    • Am I provided with sample questionnaires?

F. Support

  1. What hours are you available?
  2. What are the usual support requests?
  3. Do you offer consulting support?

G. Internet vs. software

  1. How do I get the Panoramic Feedback software?
  2. Will someone come and help us install the program?
  3. What are the technical requirements to use Panoramic Feedback?

H. Security

  1. What level of data security can I expect?
  2. How reliable is your server?

I. About Panoramic Feedback

  1. How long has Panoramic Feedback been in business?
  2. How can we get references?





ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS



A. Managing the 360-degree feedback process

  1. Question:
    How readily can individuals access the questionnaire?

    Reply:
    Being web-based means access anytime, anywhere, for Panoramic Feedback participants, whether at the office, at home, on the road. You can even place a link on your own web site that takes responders directly to the questionnaires.

    Plus, you can generate paper versions of the questionnaire for those who do not have access to the Internet, and send them by email, fax, or envelope.

  2. Question:
    We have our own questions that tie in with our company's vision. Can we use those?

    Reply:
    Yes, you can use your own questions. Or you can combine them with other questions from our competency library.

  3. Question:
    Can I develop different questionnaires for different departments or levels, to my own specifications?

    Reply:
    Yes, you can have as many different questionnaires as you like. Our customization includes introductory texts in the questionnaire and Reports, the names and number of responder categories, the competency lists, and more. All at no extra charge.

  4. Question:
    What if some of our people don't have Internet access?

    Reply:
    You can generate paper versions of the questionnaire and send them by email, fax, or envelope to those who do not have access to the Internet.

  5. Question:
    How long must I wait for Reports?

    Reply:
    Unlike software-based systems, Panoramic Feedback Reports are available within moments of the last participant's responding. That means recipients of feedback are still enthusiastic and highly motivated to change when they get their Reports.

  6. Question:
    What questionnaires are provided by the Panoramic Feedback library?

    Reply:
    The library consists of hundreds of behavior descriptions. You can import one of our complete questionnaires to use as the basis of your survey with just a mouse-click, then modify it to suit your unique feedback needs. Our library includes questionnaires for managers in finance departments, HR, IT, sales, manufacturing, recreation, government, plus executive leaders, journalists, and coaches.

  7. Question:
    Are the questionnaires provided by the Panoramic Feedback library reliable and validated?

    Reply:

    Panoramic Feedback provides a library of thousands of questions. They are clear and unambiguous, and have been used successfully by many organizations in many countries. We encourage our users to use them selectively as building blocks, choosing those that are relevant to the organization, its culture, and its people. They often edit them as appropriate.

    For most 360-degree feedback users, the best way to create a reliable competency list is for key players in the organization to bring their understanding of the task and the environment to the creation of a unique list of competencies for the organization. Like fine athletes, they believe their organizations should compete against their own internal standards, rather than attempting to emulate others.

    You may have heard about some 360-degree feedback providers that promote their questionnaires as "validated", implying that they have greater value than questions you would create locally. Unfortunately, this may lead to a sacrifice of local impact, meaning, and utility.

  8. Question:
    How does Panoramic Feedback speed the selection of responders?

    Reply:
    We provide a portal where subjects can enter email addresses for the people they wish to choose as responders. (We encourage them to check their list with their supervisor ahead of time.) This means that administrators need only enter the subjects, a significant saving in time. (Enterprise Edition only)

    Alternately, the person's manager can select responders, and the administrator can enter them into the system.

    Our automatic responder selection tool will select a panel including all peers, direct reports, manager, and self, with little additional administration effort. (Enterprise Edition only). But it is always valuable to check the responders selected to ensure that they know the skills of the individual.

    The selection of responders by the individual being assessed can be an integral and powerful part of the development process. By proposing responders, in other words by moving from contemplation into action, subjects begin to commit themselves to the 360-degree feedback project. Further, this process stimulates them to begin thinking about how their work is viewed by others.

    The process initiates an attitude of expectation and openness to the feedback. As a result, the person being assessed is more prepared to benefit when receiving the final Report.

  9. Question:
    What are the size limits on the projects I develop?

    Reply:
    In Panoramic Feedback, you can run projects as large as you wish.

    You can run many projects at a time. And in each one you can use up to 50 core competency headings, each containing up to 50 individual behavior descriptions. (In practice, the average 360-degree survey project uses 5-8 headings, each with 3-10 behavior descriptions, for a total of up to 35 questions.) The only limiting factor is the possibility of responder fatigue!

  10. Question:
    What can I expect from the Report?

    Reply:
    You'll find the Panoramic Feedback Report provides all the information you need. It provides compiled averages in chart form, along with unstructured comments from responders.

    The chart presentation begins with simple "Headlines", then moves to more granular detail. Comments are presented in random order for anonymity (except those from self and supervisor).

    The Report is generated as a PDF file which can be read and printed using Adobe Reader (a free download from www.adobe.com)

  11. Question:
    Exactly what can I customize?

    Reply:
    Almost every aspect of the questionnaire, Report, and overall Panoramic Feedback process is customizable. This list covers many of the options. You'll find more details below.

    • Automatic email notification to responders
    • Headings and Behavior Descriptions
    • Categories to which responders are assigned
    • Scale and Anchors
    • Introductory and explanatory text for both Questionnaire and Report
    • Languages
    • Narrative Comments
    • Range of Responses (Hi-Lo) Display
    • Print Page Numbers in Report
    • Change Language of Default Text in Report
    • Export Statistical Data

    Automatic email notification to responders
    This is the time-efficient alternative to the administrator or subject distributing Personal IDs to responders.

    Headings and Behavior Descriptions
    Select and modify Headings (competencies) and Behavior Descriptions. You can base them on previously-developed lists or the Panoramic Feedback library, or develop your own list from scratch.

    Categories to which responders are assigned
    Create new responder categories and assign any name to them (Examples: "Self, Supervisor, Boss, Leader"). Assign a color for display of each category in the Report bar charts. Disallow comments from selected categories of responder from appearing in the Report. Choose whether to merge categories that receive only small number of responses, to provide confidentiality in Report.

    Scale and Anchors
    Choose scale. Forced Choice scales have no Neutral response (1 to 10, 1 to 8, or 1 to 6). Other scales allow Neutral response (-5 to +5, 1 to 7, 1 to 5). Enable or disable "Not Enough Info". Choose anchors for scale (Examples: "Disagree....Agree", "Rarely.....Frequently", "Needs improvement .... Exceeds expectations").

    Introductory and explanatory text for both Questionnaire and Report
    Use (and customize) our standard text for Questionnaire and Report, or write all new text. Questionnaire and Report can appear entirely in the supported languages of your choice.

    Narrative Comments
    Create new concluding narrative comment boxes, with custom introductory texts (e.g. "Name the behaviors you'd like to see more of"). Disallow comments from selected categories of responder from appearing in the Report.

    Range of Responses
    Select whether Report will show highest and lowest responses for each question (if 4 or more responders).

    Print Page Numbers in Report
    Administrator can choose whether to print page numbers; omitting numbers is useful if additional pages are to be inserted in Report.

    Change Language of Default Text in Report
    All default text, for instance front page, headers and footers, can be re-written in the languages of your choice.

    Export Statistical Data
    Allows statistical exploration ("slicing and dicing") in statistics programs, spreadsheets, etc. Data shows all responses but individual responders are not identified -- except by category. You can generate exports for one subject or an entire project.

  12. Question:
    What happens to my data?

    Reply:
    Your responder data remains available on our server until you delete the project. You may also export responder data in CSV format for secure storage in your facilities.

  13. Question:
    Do I have to have technical knowledge to administer the program?

    Reply:
    No, the program is designed so that no specialized knowledge is necessary. Our friendly design and pop-out Help will guide you every step of the way. Our online resources provide fast answers to your questions, and there are quick online lessons for all major steps in your 360-degree feedback projects.

  14. Question:
    Can Panoramic Feedback generate compiled Reports sorted by various departments or divisions so that we can see patterns across the company?

    Reply:
    Yes, the Group Report combines the aggregate results from your choice of projects, providing a big-picture view for leaders.

    Or you can export spreadsheet-compatible Reports that allow you to sort by default characteristics: department (project), function, title and/or gender.

  15. Question:
    How can we use the data that we gather? How are other organizations using it?

    Reply:
    Our Group (i.e. aggregate) Reports allow leaders and others to validate their perceptions of the organization's employees. They stimulate positive change by providing information measuring behavior that is directly related to successful performance. And they complement traditional performance management systems which are sometimes based on simplistic "results" measurements.

    As well as supporting individual performance development, data from 360-degree feedback surveys is often used by organizations:

    • To support succession planning, identifying stellar performers who are ready for new opportunities.
    • To position the organization to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
    • To place additional emphasis on behaviors that will be valued in the future of the organization, rather than those which have served in the past.
    • To identify training needs across a population.
    • To measure the success of diversity initiatives.
  16. Question:
    Once the Reports are handed to recipients, what support is available for them?

    Reply:
    Panoramic Feedback provides Reports within moments of your request to generate them. Because there is no waiting, the momentum and enthusiasm are high when people receive their Reports, leading to a greater likelihood of growth and development.

    There are many courses of follow-up action available to you. A valuable resource is the free Guide to Creating Your Development Plan Workbook, which you can provide to each subject along with his or her report. This comprehensive workbook walks them through the report, helping them identify their current areas of success, think about how they can enhance those even further, and identify the areas where they need to make changes. It guides them all the way through to an Action Plan, and a plan for preventing slippage.

    The best support, however, is human support. Nothing can replace a coach, consultant, mentor, supervisor, or friend who takes the time to go through the report with recipients, helping them to see the encouragement it contains and to face up to the challenges.



B. Building support in the organization

  1. Question:
    What can we do up-front to help skeptical leaders buy into 360-degree feedback?

    Reply:
    Many organizations choose one or more individuals in Human Resources or Organization Development to go through the process first, so they can experience the process and explain it to others.

    The second stage is to request volunteers from senior management to be the 'pilot' team. The best volunteers are naturally curious early-adopters, who are often supporters of HR and OD initiatives.

    The next stage in the roll-out is to have the CEO inform everyone in the organization about the initiative. The ‘pilot' team members can be identified and field questions at information meetings. The word will soon trickle out that the process was straightforward and painless. Others will then be less hesitant.

  2. Question:
    As we roll out the 360 project, where should we start? Should we take a top-down approach and get the leadership to do this first, or does it matter?

    Reply:
    It is very powerful when senior leaders model openness to feedback by experiencing 360-degree feedback early on. A benefit of 360-degree feedback is that a wider circle of people surrounding the subject are involved as responders. Every time they respond to the questionnaire, they gain an understanding of the process and so when it comes their turn, the process feels more familiar and less intimidating. For each person who is assessed by the 360 process, there may be 10-15 others who have participated by responding. This builds support in the organization.

  3. Question:
    What do responders have to say about the experience of providing feedback?

    Reply:
    Responders are enthusiastic about the ease of use of Panoramic Feedback. They enter their private ID, then respond to the questionnaire with the click of the mouse. A thank-you message informs them that their reply has been received.

    As well, they find the experience widens their perspective. Often we see others from a certain point of view, which colors our perception and the way we do our work. Responders often comment that the 360 questionnaire was so thorough and asked such good questions, that by the time they completed it, they had a wider vision of the subject than they'd had originally. The discipline of answering the questions actually enlarged their vision.

  4. Question:
    How much communication is required within the organization when we start to roll out the 360-degree process?

    Reply:
    The more communication the better. A memo from the senior person in the organization informing everyone of this initiative and asking for their cooperation is a powerful way to start. This memo should inform them that they will soon receive specific instructions for filling out the questionnaire. These instructions can be sent automatically by Panoramic Feedback.

    An additional memo to subjects can request that they nominate their responders. These memos can be sent automatically using the Panoramic Feedback email system.

  5. Question:
    How do we support subjects as they receive their Report?

    Reply:
    The free Panoramic Feedback workbook for subjects, Guide to Creating your Development Plan, is a valuable resource. It leads subjects step-by-step through the process of understanding their reports, assessing strengths and weaknesses, and forming an action plan.

    As well, many organizations support the supervisors of subjects by providing training that helps them develop their coaching skills. Others make sure external coaches are available. We do not dictate how you should handle this, but we will gladly advise you. Experience shows that the most successful implementations have included deliberate and sensitive support for the subjects as they absorb and act on the information in their Report.




C. No hidden costs

  1. Question:
    Is the ability to customize my questionnaire built into the price or is there an additional cost?

    Reply:
    Panoramic Feedback enables you to customize questionnaires to your own specifications at no extra cost, including introductory texts in the questionnaire and Reports, the names and number of responder categories (for 360s), importing or adapting competency lists of your own design or chosen from our library, to name just a few.

  2. Question:
    Do we have to pay for technical support?

    Reply:
    Panoramic Feedback's advice and support, including technical support, are available to you at no extra charge. Because there is no software to install or maintain, the technical calls we receive are rare and typically due to minor human errors (e.g. a responder enters the wrong ID number).

  3. Question:
    Do we have to pay for upgrades?

    Reply:
    With Panoramic Feedback, upgrades are free. You'll receive email notification of all upgrades at the time they are launched, and will find them available immediately, on your private pages on the Internet.

  4. Question:
    Do we pay per-responder?

    Reply:
    You simply pay by the subject. There is no additional fee for responders.



D. Guarantee

  1. Question:
    Does Panoramic Feedback offer a guarantee?

    Reply:
    Panoramic Feedback offers a no-risk, 60-day guarantee. If you tell us you're not satisfied within 60 days of registering, we'll send your refund with no argument.



E. Shopping around

  1. Question:
    What questions should I be asking potential suppliers?

    Reply:
    Here are some helpful questions, each followed by information about Panoramic Feedback:

    • Is the ability to customize built into the price or is there an additional cost?

      Panoramic Feedback enables you to customize your questionnaire to your own specifications at no charge, including introductory texts in the questionnaires and Reports, the names and number of responder categorie), importing or adapting competency lists of your own design or chosen from our library, to name a few.

    • How readily can individuals access the questionnaire?

      Being web-based means access anytime, anywhere, for Panoramic Feedback participants. You can also generate paper versions of the questionnaire for those who do not have access to the Internet.

    • How long do I have to wait for Reports?

      With software-based systems, you may have to wait weeks. Panoramic Feedback Reports are available within moments of the last participant responding. That means recipients of feedback are still enthusiastic and highly motivated to change, when they get their Reports.

    • What level of security is in place?

      With software-based systems, data disks may be vulnerable. Panoramic Feedback provides 128-bit encrypted transfer of data, as well as password protected access. Furthermore, raters typically feel more secure knowing that their responses are being stored off-site.

    • Is there a guarantee?

      Panoramic Feedback offers a no-risk, no-arguments, 60-day guarantee.

    • Do I have to pay for technical support?

      Panoramic Feedback provides free advice and support, including technical support. Because there is no software to install or maintain, the technical calls we get are rare and most commonly due to human error (e.g. a responder enters the wrong ID number).

    • Do I have to pay for upgrades?

      With Panoramic Feedback, upgrades are free as soon as they become available on the Internet.

    • Am I provided with sample questionnaires?

      Panoramic Feedback provides a library of sample questionnaires. Their use is optional, but our clients find them a valuable resource as they create their unique questionnaires.



F. Support

  1. Question:
    What hours are you available?

    Reply:
    We offer a toll-free number for customer service, as well as live support. Customer service hours are Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET, excluding public holidays. We respond to e-mails within two hours of receipt, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET, excluding public holidays. Outside our business hours, voice and e-mail messages are responded to within two hours after the start of the next business day.

  2. Question:
    What are the usual support requests?

    Reply:
    We receive few requests for technical solutions, since the system is simple, secure, and reliable. New users sometimes email or call for advice about how to use a particular function. Our approach to support is friendly, helpful, and fast.

  3. Question:
    Do you offer consulting support?

    Reply:
    Our network of superb, experienced consultants across the Continent are ready to support you in developing your 360-degree feedback program, train participants, coach subjects of 360-degree feedback, and lead your organization through a change process.



G. Internet vs. software

  1. Question:
    How do I get the Panoramic Feedback software?

    Reply:
    The Panoramic Feedback system is entirely cloud-based, so there is no software for you to deal with. That means nothing to install, maintain, or upgrade. (All upgrades simply appear on-line as they are released, at no extra charge. We even notify you as they become available.)

    As soon as you register with us, we send your Manual. It includes everything you need to know about managing the 360-degree feedback system.

    Then you use your browser to log-on to your private Panoramic Feedback page, and set up your first project. It is literally that fast and that straightforward.

    You'll have immediate online access to great ideas for training and other communications with subjects and responders, and a library of sample questionnaires. (Because our system allows you to create your own questionnaire, you can use the library as a source of questionnaires, or merely a helpful guide.)

  2. Question:
    Will someone come and help us install the program?

    Reply:
    There is literally nothing for you to install - see above!

    All you need is a browser (Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) plus Adobe Reader (a free download from www.adobe.com)

    But we're available, if you have questions, by email and phone.

  3. Question:
    What are the technical requirements to use Panoramic Feedback?

    Reply:
    Because the Panoramic Feedback cloud-based server takes care of so much of the infrastructure, the requirements are few.

    The administrator needs:

    • Internet access
    • Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox
    • Javascript enabled on your browser
    • Adobe Reader (a free download from www.adobe.com)

    Responders need only:

    • Internet Access (or they may reply on paper)
    • A browser (for instance, Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox)


H. Security

  1. Question:
    What level of data security can I expect?

    Reply:
    Both professionally and technically, we provide the highest levels of security:

    • Professional protection: staff are led by consultants with professional commitment to confidentiality, anonymity, and safety for all affected by 360-degree feedback and surveys.
    • All data transfers (to or from administrators and responders) 128-bit encrypted.
    • Data stored on a server inaccessible from the Internet.
    • Hackers and crackers reliably refused access.
    • Survey Administrator's access to private pages requires User Name and secret Password, allows no access to data of other users.
    • Responders to surveys use secret password, can access only their designated survey, cannot see responses of others.
    • Linux-based server provides superior security—but don't worry, you don't have to know anything about Linux to use Panoramic Feedback.

    Responders and 360 subjects typically feel more safe knowing that the responses are stored off-site on a secure server.

  2. Question:
    How reliable is your server?

    Reply:
    Very reliable:

    • Dedicated Server using up-to-date version of Linux
    • Server: Software Apache
    • Provider: internationally respected server farm
    • Secure data center:
      • Staffed 24/7
      • Comprehensive personnel security, including biometric entry
      • Redundant systems
      • Redundant cooling infrastructure
      • Backup batteries
      • Multiple diesel generators


I. About Panoramic Feedback

  1. Question:
    How long has Panoramic Feedback been in business?

    Reply:
    We have been providing consulting and 360-degree feedback for three decades. In 1998, Panoramic Feedback was the first service to provide a 360-degree feedback system based entirely on the Internet (i.e. not paper or diskette-based).

  2. Question:
    How can we get references?

    Reply:
    Click on Testimonials for the perspective of our users. Contact us for more.